First of all, thank you to all of you who have asked about Mom. For those of you that don’t know, she had a small stroke two weeks ago and it has affected her left side and her speech. Her speech is slowing coming back but she is tired and weaker and I made the decision to start hospice care last Thursday. She is still loving and funny…just weaker. She still slaps my butt every time she catches me or the girls. I catch a half smile from her when she does.
This has been strange for me, being on the other end of hospice care. My background has been cardiac care with more recent, home care and hospice. It was strange to answer questions and not the one asking them. In the past few days, I have signed more paperwork than I can count. I have also been on the phone with the economic assistance program and Department of Aging for three hours last week. We ordered a new wheelchair, discontinued some medications, spoke to the bath aide, encouraged a pastor visit and music therapy, requested a massage and finally today, spoke to the social worker. All through this, my friends and family have helped me, mainly my husband. Steve…I thank you and love you. My girls have taken her for walks, gotten her ready for bed, scratched her back and given her Ensure. I’m so proud of them, sometimes I could burst. Here is hoping one of them will decide on medicine. They can also take care of Steve and I when we get old.
Today, I met with the social worker and I was asked to describe Mom. I sit and look at this simple piece of paper and think of how I can articulate mom’s life. How can you write everything down that is in your heart and do her justice?
I would want this social worker to know that she loves toast and cheese and that she makes doughnuts from scratch. I want her to know that I taught her how to drive a stick shift in her mid-sixties and how it took forever for her to learn on that old, tan Ford Escort.
I want her to know that she tried for twenty years to have children. I’m sure watching her brothers, her sister and friends have babies and she being unable to conceive. I want her to know that she finally got a boy and girl and how much she adored us. You don’t have to carry a baby for nine months to be a mother.
I would love if she knew how much she loved starting the day with coffee and a long walk. How she did leg kicks and stretches in the morning to stay fit. She needs to know that Mom loved playing the slot machines in Yuma, but only playing the nickels.
Of course I will fill her in on her love of all children, helping with Girl Scouts, Sunday School, Bible Choir and her devotion to Sophia and Emme. She always said she waited a lifetime for those two and we have fifty quilts she handmade to prove it.
She would need to know that even when she was getting more forgetful, she would still remember to send me stamps in the mail and buy Steve white tube socks. I would remind the social worker of how much she loves Steve and all of her nieces and nephews. Always a card with a little money in it.
My parents were married for sixty years and during that time together she traveled, hunted for mushrooms, canned everything and anything, searched for agates, entertained friends, helped with reports and looked for my shoes at night, knowing that I finally was home, safe and sound. She told me that years later. Good for me to remember.
I want to share with her that she read at night, hummed while she baked, was deathly afraid of snakes and once killed a bat with a tennis racket. She loved being tan, was a devout Lutheran and never pierced her ears.
Lastly, I want her know what a good mother she is. Always helping, always busy, always caring and always loving. Its hard to sum up your mother on one sheet of paper. Oh, and she could make anything out of rhubarb and her lemon bars are amazing.
She and I have been together forty four years. I am so lucky.